“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light" (Gospel Of John 1:6-8)
John, was Jesus’ first cousin. His mother Elisabeth was Mary’s sister (Matt 1:11-17). He grew to great prominence in Israel and was acknowledged as a prophet and great man of God whose ministry was to point men to Christ (the “Light”), and in this he excelled. This was his burden and his passion. It is he who uttered the words “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). A man of true piety who considered Himself unworthy to loosen the strap of Jesus’ sandal (John 1:28). His words, “He must increase and I must decrease” reveal the purity of his heart.
But John was decidedly unpopular with the religious establishment of the day. He confronted their hypocrisy labelling them “snakes” and calling upon them to repent (Matt 3:7). Some did, but the majority refused. They professed godliness but possessed corrupt hearts. They talked much about God but it wasn’t genuine. It wasn’t sincere. John had little time for them and was quick to expose their corrupt ways. Jesus would likewise call them “hypocrites” and “whitewashed tombs” (Matt 23:27). John’s uncompromising stands would eventually cost him his life (Mark 6:14-29). Though despised by many for telling the truth he was nevertheless highly esteemed in Christ’s eyes (Matt 11:11).
John did not point to men or women, no matter how godly. He pointed to Christ, alone. He exalted Christ, alone. How embarrassed Mary, or any godly man and woman of bygone days would be to find themselves exalted in place of Christ. Would Mary have desired this? Never! She, and they, would echo John’s words, “He must increase and I must decrease.”